Google Down the Line!: 2008-02-10

Friday, February 15, 2008

Serena Williams can party but can't write, blames dental surgery

Serena "ReRe" Williams is finally able to write and practice again after her painful dental surgery, even though she was feeling good enough to crash some parties recently. The former No. 1 was the top seed at the Open Gaz de France tourney but withdrew because of the procedure. ReRe blogged about it so we'll let her tell you herself:

"Well as u may have heard I had to have emergency gum surgery. I was super ill for a looooong time. The only good thing is I ended up losing a bit of weight. I am just now getting better. I am just beginning to train and get back in the flow of things. It really sucks that I have to miss a few tourneys, but I have never felt too bad in my life.

"I would wake up (actually I could not even sleep the pain was so bad) and just cry because I was in so much pain. Being an athlete I have learned to build up my pain tolerance. And also in the past I have had a knee surgery so I know how some pain feels, but I have never experienced anything like this. It was crazy!! I have never cried for pain. I felt hopeless. My Mom came to the rescue. She was with me every second I needed her. What a great woman.

"I am finally feeling better and able to write blogs again. I hope to be in action soon on the tennis courts again. I can't really tell when I will be back but I am just training and playing it by ear. Stay tuned!!!"
The dental work forced her to pull out of the tennis tourney, but it didn't stop ReRe from blowing up the Serena Party Watch by hitting the clubs with boyfriend Common or making appearances at two Grammy parties last weekend.

Apparently, the more things change, the more the stay the same with ReRe.

(image via

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Monica Seles officially retires, "...I will miss competing in the game of tennis," says Seles

Monica Seles officially announced her retirement from tennis today. One of the greatest, and toughest, competitors the sport has ever seen, and one of my personal faves, Monica released the following statement through Tony Godsick, her IMG agent:

"Tennis has been and will always be a huge part of my life. I have for some time considered a return to professional play, but I have now decided not to pursue that, [...] I will continue to play exhibitions, participate in charity events, promote the sport, but will no longer plan my schedule around the tour. I look forward to pursuing other opportunities with the same passion and energy that fueled my dedication to tennis and to devote more time to two of my passions — children and animals. I especially want to thank all my wonderful, loyal fans for all of their support for me over the years. They have inspired me throughout my career in the good times and comforted me in the bad times. I have always been so proud to have such a special group of precious fans to call my very own and felt they were the best an athlete could ever hope to have. I will miss them all as much as I will miss competing in the game of tennis."
Though she hasn't competed on the WTA Tour since a first round loss at the 2003 French Open, Monica was considering a comeback this year. But it wasn't meant to be. The 9-time Grand Slam champion will begin a new career in television as a news contributor for CBS' The Early Show.

Quote of the Day: Justine Henin on Sharapova

“I hadn’t lost in months and that became a weight too. We knew defeat would come one day. (Sharapova) had the knife between her teeth."

- Justine Henin on losing to Maria "Shriek"apova at last month's Aussie Open
Clearly, Papa Yuri's infamous throat-cutting moment wasn't lost on the World No. 1.

(image via AFP/Belga/Virginie Lefour)

THE LOW DOWN: Davis Cup to award ranking points in 2009

Will the ITF begin awarding ranking points for Davis Cup? Yes, beginning in 2009 according to an interview with ITF Vice President Juan Margets on Spanish sports site Though the amount of points have not been determined, Margets remarked that a baller who plays all the World Group ties and reaches the final could potentially earn the equivalent point value of a Master Series champion. If an agreement is finalized, an announcment would be made during this year's Miami Masters.

Finally! A common sense move finally put into action by tennis' governing body. Now, onto Fed Cup...

(image via

THE LOW DOWN: Andy Murray hits back at brother, "[The comments were] a little bit disappointing," says Andy

Family feud: Andy Murray isn't happy with the public spanking he got from big brother Jamie. The British No. 1, who just reached the quarterfinals in Marseille, defended his decision to skip his country's Davis Cup tie in Argentina to rest his tender knee.

After his first round win in Marseille this week, the 20-year old told the press,

"[The comments were] a little bit disappointing” [...] "He obviously felt pretty strongly about it and he’s entitled to his opinion. Again, if he knew what it was like playing three five-set matches in a row on clay, then maybe he would understand my position a bit better."
The World No. 11 also revealed the Scottish siblings have yet to discuss the controversy saying,
"I’ve not spoken to him yet. I’ll see him soon. I guess we’ll have to have a chat about it and just sort out our feelings on Davis Cup and the sort of position that I am in, but it’s probably not going to be the most fun conversation to have with your brother. [...] If people want to say that I am not committed to playing for my country and don’t put 110 per cent in, then I think that’s pretty unfair.”
Though he adamantly stands by his decision, Andy felt the need to reassure British Davis Cup captain John Lloyd that he'll absolutely be available for the next tie. We'll see.

(image via Getty)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rafael Nadal launches Foundation, "I am doing very well and I owe society," says Rafa

Rafa makes good: As I wrote about last week Rafael Nadal, joined by the entire Nadal clan, launched the Rafa Nadal Foundation today at the Manacor Tennis Club in Mallorca, Spain. The Foundation will focus on social work and development aid and "seek to promote 'sport as an integration tool for those groups in most need," focusing particularly on childhood and youth.'" Ana Maria Parera, Rafa's mom, will chair the organization and father Sebastian will be vice-chairman. Coach and uncle Toni Nadal and his agent, former tennis player Carlos Costa, will also be involved.

The World No. 2 was interviewed about the Foundation and he had this to say:

On why Rafa decided to start a Foundation:
"This can be the beginning of my future, when I retire and have more time,[...] I am doing very well and I owe society, [...] A month-and-a-half ago I was in Chennai, in India. The truth is we live great here....I can contribute something with my image..."

On being inspired by the Red Cross benefit match with Real Madrid's Iker Casillas:
"We raised an amount of money that we would never have imagined. I have to thank Iker, my project partner, who went all out for it, [...] That is why the time has come to set up my own foundation and determine the destination of the money."

On the advice Roger Federer gave Rafa on being involved in philanthropy:
"I have talked a lot about this with Roger, and he tells me that when you are there it is something that fills you with satisfaction. And I think the time has come, it is a beautiful time for my life and for my career."

Big shout out to Down the Line reader Maxwell for the info!

(image via

Seles joins The Early Show and discusses stabbing, "I had a lot of inside emotional traumas going on," says Seles

The survivor: Monica Seles may not be slapping her trademark angled winners on a tennis court these days, but the 9-time Grand Slam champ isn't sitting sedentary - she's a new contributor on CBS' The Early Show.

The fit-looking former No. 1 was interviewed today about the incredible first half of her career when she won 8 Grand Slams before the age of 20, the infamous stabbing by a deranged Steffi Graf fan, her second life on-court, and how the assault left her with deep, emotional scars and an unhealthy coping method - eating.

She told Harry Smith, "I had a lot of inside emotional traumas going on," "You could see that reflected in the body that I had."

UPDATE: In case you missed it, here's the video of Monica's interview on The Early Show.

(image via

SIGHTING: A-Rod brings a little Brooklyn to Manhattan

Love is in the air: Thanks to our reader Suzanne for tipping us off to Andy Roddick and girlfriend Brooklyn Decker taking in some sights in New York yesterday. A-Rod is looking super-casual but blazing hot in his black skull cap, charcoal hooded wool coat, jeans, and trainers.

The pair began dating during last year's US Open when they were spotted eating at trendy eaterie Nobu; and last December the tennis baller (working a similar look) and swimsuit model were seen hand-in-hand strolling the streets of Gotham. A-Rod has been romantically linked to singer/actress Mandy Moore and fellow baller Maria "Shriek"apova as well.

Could the couple be here for a little Valentine's Day celebration in the big city?

(images via

FASHION FIX: Reformed Hantuchova hits runway for Madrid Fashion Week

Fashion-lovin' Daniela Hantuchova must have had another change of heart about the media's attention on her beauty and looks. The slender Slovak partnered with model Martina Klein this weekend to present the TCN Collection at the Florida Park Club as part of Madrid Fashion Week.

After many years of focus on her looks, a reformed Dani told The Independent last year, "I think, [...] that there is way too much emphasis on the way we look in sport in general. With the guys nobody bothers, except to say that Ronaldo has got a little bit heavy or something. But with the women, there is too much. Everyone has a different shape. People should focus only on the game."

Now she's shopping Versace and working fashion weeks. I guess a girl has a right to change her mind...again...and again...and again.

(via, images via, WireImage)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

SIGHTING: Shirtless Tsonga & Gasquet hit the clubs, get down with some go-go girls

The French do it better: We love the many ways the Frenchies celebrate their good fortunes. Aussie Open finalist Jo-Willy Tsonga and Richard Gasquet were spotted taking their shirts off and getting their party on with some go-go dancers at a club after their Davis Cup victory over Romania this past weekend.

Jo-Willy seems very much in his element, but Richard isn't as convincing - could he be trying to squash those pesky gay rumors once and for all? We'll give him an "A" for effort but, believe you me, it takes much more than some T & A to stop that gay train...

(images via

FASHION FIX: Maria Sharapova lucky again, auctions off signed Aussie Open dress

All Maria wannabes listen up: It seems someone left memories of the cursed Nike dress from last season in the dust. Maria "Shriek"apova's elegant Nike Aussie Open Flora dress, the lucky one she wore during her championship run last month, has been signed by the Russian fashionista herself and is now being auctioned off to benefit The Maria Sharapova Foundation. Here's the (very) detailed description via her website:

"Maria's dress uses a neutral pallet that is heavily influenced by a modern off-white color, which also calls out to the natural and organic look that was derived from the Australian countryside. Maria wanted something that was young and funky but had very definitive detailing. To accomplish this, Nike had to first look back to the function of the game and the environment. Maria's dress combines a lightweight polyester jersey with mesh. Symmetrically placed mesh inlays are in the center front and center back of her dress so that she has zone cooling. As for Maria's interest in fine detailing, the mesh gives the garment a 360-degree texture. The front panels are pleated and tucked and the hem of the dress is also meshed and pleated. This gives a contrast in fabrication, but provides depth, movement and texture."

The deadline for bids is February 25th at 3pm. To make a bid, click here.

(images via AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Monday, February 11, 2008

+ MONDAY NETCORDS: Sania, Viktor, Bodo vs. Rafa...Chris on Venus & Serena, fun with felt and more

- Open mouth, insert foot: Peter Bodo thinks he has Rafael Nadal's tennis issues all figured out: Rafa's tennis suffers because he's "provincial" and "has resisted, or is impervious to, sophistication" since he comes from the dark + undiscovered land of Mallorca, Spain, and he's "amazed that nobody has come up with a comic strip character based on Nadal yet." Essentially, grow up and enter the world of men!

But Bodo has thought about the repercussions of such asinine descriptors and attempts to defend them by saying, "We resist this kind of thinking today for fear of causing offense and stereotyping." And yet you still do?

- Fun with felt: Kix and the City gives us a preview of the new Nike Blazer Low, the popular early 1970's basketball style. This version is made from tennis ball felt in black/light bone-green; the sneaker tongue is nylon.

- Making an approach: Should today's tennis baller attack the net more? Nate Cunningham pens his case over at Tennis Diary.

- In common sensical news, the WTA Tour, and now the ATP Tour, will both offer ranking points for this year's Beijing Olympics. "The 2008 Olympic tennis event will have the best quality field possible," said ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti. Too bad that's not a priority for Davis & Fed Cup competition.

- For what it's worth: Chris Evert believes the Williams sister's best days are in the here and now. The 18-time Grand Slammer told Reuters, "The big question is: `Are the Williams sisters healthy?'. They are injured or they are not focused or whatever. If Serena is healthy and she is focused, she is still the player to beat." Bonus: Are brothers Peyton & Eli Manning the Venus & Serena of football?

- Despite recent controversies, Sania Mirza is still in the back pocket of advertisers.

Tennis Served Fresh has some info on Serbian Viktor Troicki, who we spotted getting his lick on with an unsuspecting tennis racquet, and an unfortunate locker room moment with Nike (well, unfortunate for them.)

(image via

SIGHTING: Serena Party Watch in full effect for Grammy weekend

The Serena Party Watch was in overdrive this weekend for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. The 8-time Grand Slam champion, who came down with a strange case of camera-shyness recently, switched out her tennis gear for party gowns and hairdos as she hit up Clive Davis' prestigious pre-Grammy party on Saturday (above) and then the Entertainment Weekly Grammy after-party honoring music industry heavyweight LA Reid on Sunday, spending time chatting up family friend Janet Jackson (below).

Thought we think she looks great at both events, we're loving ReRe's sexy look from the post-Grammy party - the shorter, sleeker bob-style hair and salmon halter dress is very flattering on the former World No. 1.

(images via Getty)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

INSTANT REPLAY: a look back at the week's top tennis plays


Some men think Ana is hotter than Maria
Nole earns prestigious nomination
Sania takes a stand, though some aren't happy
Anna K. pulls a ReRe
Davis Cup beauties, but Fernando takes the cake
The Davis Cup Chronicles: Jamie blasts little bro'

Rafa gives back
ESPN takes tennis outside the lines, video included
Marat gives good quote
Sexy ballers makes good models
Ana's fan contest aka ambien
Pretty girls can write too says Tennis Week
Versatile boys
Aggie in need of a fashion makeover


WEDNESDAY: Andre, Nole, Mahesh + Leander...Bridget talks "mommyhood", Jamie has issues and more

FASHION FIX: Aggie Radwanska wins Pattaya, confuses with unflattering style

On the (low) rise: Agnieszka Radwanska won the second title of her career at this weekend's Pattaya Women's Open, saving a match point and squeezing out a 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (4) win over American veteran Jill Craybas. The Polish giant-killer, who already has wins over Venus Williams and Russians Maria "Shriek"apova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, almost lost the match after leading 5-1 in the deciding set; she'll move into the top-20 for the first time when the rankings are released on Monday.

Now on to the confusing outfit - what's going on here? Aggie's listed on her WTA player page as being sponsored by Prokom, but she's clearly wearing a white frilly Nike skirt, and not a flattering one either. It's strangely asymetrical (dipping in the front) and sits low on her non-existent hips, which unfortunately emphasizes that fact. We think a flirty-skirt that starts higher on the waistband is a better silhouette for the 18-year old's body - it would give Aggie some shape where there isn't any.

We won't even get into that tank-top.


PHOTO OP: Spain's sexy doubles team flip-flop for victory

Double vision: Our "appreciation" for doubles is, uh, growing after seeing a pumped up Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez perform an intimate post-match celebratory dance during their Davis Cup tie this weekend. The sexy Spanish duo's defeat of Peru's Luis Horna and Ivan Miranda moved their team into the World Group quarterfinals where they'll take on Germany.

We love seeing a doubles team whose ballers can flip-flop and share the dominant position on court. Now that's taking one for the team.

(images via AP Photo/Karel Navarro)

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